There are growing calls for politicians to address the issue of hunger in the UK.
This week the Evangelical Alliance called on David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband to do what it takes to ensure their parties put the issue of hunger in the UK firmly on the political agenda.
It also urged the cross parliamentary inquiry into foodbanks and food poverty in Britain, led by the Bishop of Truro, to include in its terms of reference an investigation on wage level stagnation, food price rises, and benefit changes and failures, as they relate to the rise of hunger.
EA general director Steve Clifford said the new statistics set to be released by The Trussell Trust, the UK largest Christian food aid agency, later this month are “astonishing and disturbing” because of the “quantum leap in the number of people going hungry since last year”.
‘Hunger in the UK is a real issue which must be of concern to us all, including the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party,’ said Mr Clifford. ‘We normally associate malnutrition with developing countries wracked by food shortages and poverty, but it’s disturbing to learn that malnutrition is right here on our own doorsteps.
‘Last year more than 5,500 people were admitted to UK hospitals suffering with malnutrition. No one should be allowed to go hungry in Britain.’
Mr Clifford and other directors of the Alliance in England, Wales, NI and Scotland are participating in the 4 April fast to help draw attention to the serious hunger crisis facing the UK. The national day of fasting has been organised by the End Hunger Fast Campaign, and is supported by Baptists Together. General Secretary Lynn Green participated in a fasting relay last week.
By pledging to join the fast, supporters call on the government to ensure:
* That the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against hunger in Britain
* That work pays enough for working people to properly provide for their families
* That food markets function, promoting sustainable and healthy diets, with no one profiteering off hunger in Britain.
The regional campaigning group North East CALL FOR ACTION (NE-CAP), declared its support for End Hunger Fast this week.
Dr David Golding CBE, a longstanding member of Whitley Bay Baptist Church, is NE-CAP’s Development Coordinator. He cited the words of the late Cardinal Basil Hume, originally used with reference to Third World Debt: “Those who could be blamed the least, the poorest people, have suffered the most”, stating they also now apply to the UK.
Dr Golding added, ‘The charge we lay at the government’s door is that it has failed to protect the poorest and most vulnerable in our community.’